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Monthly Archives: December 2015

VMware vRealize Automation 7.0 – Finally the most desirable features and capabilities in a VMware Private Cloud Automation Solution have arrived!

By Cory Allen, RadhaKishna (RK) Dasari and Shannon Wilber

Anyone who has previously worked with vRealize Automation 6.x or earlier versions of VMware Cloud Automation Center 5.x, understands historically just how challenging it can be to manage the overall planning, design, deployment and architecture of an end-to-end Private Cloud Automation solution.

Our Professional Services Engineering team over the past few years have worked extensively with VMware engineering organizations and many diverse customer Cloud Automation deployment scenarios globally.  Our team extensively tests and researches the most effective and proven methodologies to implement vRealize Automation as a solution help mitigate and reduce historical implementation challenges.

So guess what?  We are really excited and impressed with the new vRealize Automation 7.0… 🙂

VMware finally has a new Private Cloud Solution and Product with the launch of vRealize Automation 7.0, that delivers a much easier and user friendly deployment method using the new slick vRealize Automation Installation Wizard. This new installation and configuration wizard enables a simplified and centralized deployment unlike anything you have seen in vRealize Automation before. The challenges of the installation and configuration are a thing of the past, having been solved in a whole new way with this new release of vRealize Automation.

In particular, during early testing and validation our team had performed during betas, we quickly became very impressed with this new feature and capability and immediately realized just how valuable the new vRealize Automation Installation would be for efficiency, ease of use, intuitive, and stability for the VMware field delivery teams and customers globally. The most significant change our team observed that was very cool, was that you do not have to do so many manual installation tasks anymore – which can get really tedious during the deployment of a complex highly available VRA solution.

So now let’s get to the best part – where the fun begins – some basic questions and answers.

  1. How has the installation and configuration of vRealize Automation 7.0 changed from previous versions to include 6.x and 5.x?
    Response: Well, good news! The new installation features and capabilities offered include the option to deploy a Minimal Deployment and an Enterprise Deployment.
  • The vRealize Automation Installation Wizard Minimal Deployment offers a simple non-distributed installation without high availability shown here:
    PSE Deployment 1
  • The vRealize Automation Installation Wizard provides an option for an Enterprise Deployment distributed with or without high availability options shown here:

PSE Expanded Deployment

  1. Now I have two options to perform the installation, so what is the big deal?

    Response: That is not all the installation has to offer, we are just getting started! The new installation wizard now has a cool new Gadget called the “Prerequisite Checker” available within the Wizard. This new feature leverages a new IaaS Management Agent to install on each IaaS Hosts so that the “Prerequisite Checker” that can automatically from a central location within the Wizard, automate the installation and configuration of all Microsoft Windows Server IaaS Prerequisites. No longer do architects and engineers have to manually logon to each server, configure the prerequisites, reboot, or worse – forget to install all required prerequisites. The new vRealize Automation Installation Wizard Prerequisite Check Takes care of it all. Just be careful not to get to comfortable here, there is more fun.

The vRealize Installation Wizard Installation Prerequisites Page to Download Management Agents is shown here:

PSE Deployment 3

vRealize Installation Wizard New “Prerequisite Checker” scanning IaaS Hosts within the Enterprise Deployment option:

PSE Deployment 4

The vRealize Installation Wizard New “Prerequisite Checker” identifies Windows IaaS Server Hosts that may not have “Some prerequisites are not met” notification. The wizard has a “Fix” button that enables this cool new tool too automatically fix each IaaS Host with a simple click of a button.

PSE Prerequisite Checker 1
The cool new “
Prerequisite Checker” will notify you when all Windows IaaS Machines have had all prerequisites installed configured. Guess what? If for some reason a Windows IaaS Machine goes offline during the process, simply wait for the machine to come back online and click “Run” or “Fix” a second time for where you last left off. Pretty cool stuff huh?

PSE Prerequisite Checker 2

 

PSE Prerequisite Checker 3

  1. Wow! That is pretty cool. After the “Prerequisite Checker” is done completing installation tasks, what other cool automated and fancy things can vRealize Automation 7.0 do? What about authoring infrastructure or applications? Has anything changed to enable an easier and more streamlined method for developing infrastructure and applications?Response: Check out the new (and unified) blueprint design canvas for authoring infrastructure virtual machines and applications with Machine Types and Software Components which now include Application Services as standard service. The new blueprint designer is probably the coolest, and most significant, new feature that has been implemented that allows for building simple virtual machines to complex application based blueprints all within a single design canvas.

New Unified Blueprint Design Canvas for Authoring Infrastructure and Applications

PSE Unified Blueprint Design

  1. Now that the first question has been addressed for new unified blueprints, tell me how Application services works with the new service authoring model.Response: Here is an overview of how the new Application Services works compared to previous versions of vRealize Automation Application Services in the 6.x versions:Application Services formerly Application Director used to be an optional application blueprint authoring feature that was a separate, external virtual appliance that had to be manually deployed, configured, and integrated with vRealize Automation 6.x environments. Following the former deployment methods in older Application Services versions, application blueprints had to be manually created as a separate component from single and multi-machine blueprints in vRealize Automation 6.x. Now in vRealize Automation 7.0, Application Services is a standard feature that is offered as part of the overall deployment and is available within the unified blueprint. Application services is no longer a separate virtual appliance or external component. Application Services, which now includes Software Components, have integrated authoring capabilities in the vRealize Automation 7.0. Application Services and runs as a service on each vRealize Automation 7.0 appliances, scaling as appliances are added into the overall scalable architecture.

New Capabilities to Create Applications and Software Components in the Unified Blueprint

PSE Unified Blueprint 2

VMware’s customers will be very impressed that they can now create multi-tier blueprints with combined infrastructure and application dependencies to author software components.

Create a Software Component such as an Apache Web Server Service

PSE Unified Blueprint 3

  1. Wow that is very cool, I can now create infrastructure virtual machines, create Software Components and then add my applications by dragging and dropping my applications onto the design canvas? How can I add networking or security policies to my unified blueprints?Response: In addition, another super cool new feature and capability with the unified blueprint is the option to integrate NSX On-Demand Networking and Security components into these blueprints. This is a radical new networking and security enhancement within the blueprint design canvas that allows authoring of services all in one single unified designer within vRealize Automation 7.0 that can include NSX features and Network Components to include:
  • On-Demand Private Networks
  • On-Demand NAT Networks
  • On-Demand Routed Networks

Security Components:

  • On-Demand Security Groups
  • Existing Security Groups
  • Security Tags

New Blueprint with NSX On-Demand Networking and Security “Drag & Drop” Authoring Functionality

PSE Unified Blueprint 4


Cory AllenCory Allen has been in the IT world for over 18 years and is a Technical Solutions Architect for VMware. He has been with VMware since June of 2015 working on the PSE Cloud Automation Team. Before coming to VMware, he was with Parker Kannifin where he was the Hybrid Cloud Architect where his main task was to Design and Build a Private Internal Cloud that was fully automated and able to scale to the whole organization worldwide.

RK DasariRadhaKrishna (RK) Dasari is a Technical Solutions Architect for the Professional Services Engineering team. He specializes in developing architecture designs and service kits for vRealize Automation and vCloud Air. Prior to VMware, RK had a career spanning thirteen years at Dell as a software developer, software architect and pre-sales solutions architect.

Shannon WilberShannon Wilber is a Technical Solution Architect at VMware with eighteen years of information technology experience with architecture design, implementations and infrastructure management for commercial and enterprise scale IT solutions for Software Defined Data Centers and Hybrid Cloud environments. Proven team leadership and technical experience to guide complex IT projects through the planning, design, implementation, migration and optimization stages for diverse IT solutions for customers globally. Shannon is also a VMware Certified Professional (VCP5-DCV), EMC Proven Professional and EMC Certified Cloud Infrastructure Specialist. 

VMware vRealize Operations Python Adapter – A Hidden Treasure

Jeremy WheelerBy Jeremy Wheeler

Even more power comes out of VMware vRealize Operations when enabling the vRealize Operations Python Adapter, adding additional intelligent monitoring and action capabilities.

To do this, execute the following steps:

Image 1:

JWheeler Image 1

  1. Select ‘Solutions’
  2. Select ‘VMware vSphere’
  3. Select ‘vCenter Python Adapter’

Add your vCenters, and match what you configured under the ‘vCenter Adapter’ section above #3 in image 1.

What Does This Do for Me?

When viewing the default dashboard ‘Recommendations’ you might see something such as the following in your ‘Top Risk Alerts For Descendants’

Image 2:

JWheeler Image 2

By selecting the alert, you will be presented with another dialog to dig into, which is an object we should inspect:

Image 3:

JWheeler Image 3

After I select ‘View Details’ it will present me with the object details of the virtual machine ‘av_prov1’.

Image 4:

JWheeler Image 4

Without Python Adapters configured you will not see the ‘Set Memory for VM’ button; with it configured it will be visible under the ‘Recommendations’ section.

Image 5:

JWheeler Image 5

After selecting ‘Set Memory for VM’ you will be presented with a new dialog (Image 5). Here we can see what the new memory recommendation would be and adjust or apply it. Additionally, if you want the changes to happen now, you can select Power-Off/Snapshot. Without powering off the virtual machine, vRealize Operations will attempt to hot-add the additional memory if the OS will support it.

Image 6:

JWheeler Image 6

Once you select ‘Begin Action’ you will see the dialog in Image 6.


Jeremy Wheeler is an experienced senior consultant and architect for VMware’s Professional Services Organization, End-user Computing specializing in VMware Horizon Suite product-line and vRealize products such as vROps, and Log Insight Manager. Jeremy has over 18 years of experience in the IT industry. In addition to his past experience, Jeremy has a passion for technology and thrives on educating customers. Jeremy has 7 years of hands-¬‐on virtualization experience deploying full-life cycle solutions using VMware, CITRIX, and Hyper-V. Jeremy also has 16 years of experience in computer programming in various languages ranging from basic scripting to C, C++, PERL, .NET, SQL, and PowerShell.

Jeremy Wheeler has received acclaim from several clients for his in-¬‐depth and varied technical experience and exceptional hands-on customer satisfaction skills. In February 2013, Jeremy also received VMware’s Spotlight award for his outstanding persistence and dedication to customers and was nominated again in October of 2013

Cloud Pod Architecture and Cisco Nexus 1000V Bug

Jeremy WheelerBy Jeremy Wheeler

I once worked with a customer who owned two vBlocks between two data centers. They ran Nexus 1000V for the virtual networking component. They deployed VDI, and when we enabled cloud pod architecture, global data replication worked great; however, all of our connection servers in the remote pod would show red or offline. I found that we could not telnet to the internal pod or remote pod connection servers over port 8472. All other ports were good. VMware Support confirmed that the issue is with the Nexus 1000V and found that there was a bug in the N1KV and a TCP Checksum Offload function.

The specific ports in question are the following:

VMware View Port 8472 – The View Interpod API (VIPA) interpod communication channel runs on this port. View Connection Server instances use the VIPA interpod communication channel to launch new desktops, find existing desktops, and share health status data and other information.

Cisco Nexus 1000V Port 8472 – VXLAN; Cisco posted a bug report about 8472 being dropped at the VEM for N1KV: Cisco Bug: CSCup55389 – Traffic to TCP port 8472 dropped on the VEM

The bug report mentions TCP Checksum being the root cause and offloading only 8472 packets. If removing the N1KV isn’t an option, you can disable TCP Offloading.

To Disable TCP Offloading

  • In the Windows server, open the Control Panel and select Network Settings Change Adapter Settings.
    JWheeler Ethernet Adapter Properties 1
    Right-click on each of the adapters (private and public), select Configure from the Networking menu, and then click the Advanced tab. The TCP Offload settings are listed for the Citrix adapter.JWheeler Ethernet Adapter Properties 2

I recommend applying the following:

  • IPv4 Checksum Offload
  • Large Receive Offload (was not present for our vmxnet3 advanced configuration)
  • Large Send Offload
  • TCP Checksum Offload

You would need to do this on each of the VMXNET3 Adapters on each connection server at both data centers. Once disabled (it did cause nic to blip), we were able to Telnet between the data centers on port 8472 again.

After making these adjustments you should be able to login to the View Admin portal and see all greens for remote connection servers. I have tested and validated this, and it works as intended. For more information I recommend you read Understanding TCP Segmentation Offload (TSO) and Large Receive Offload (LRO) in a VMware environment (2055140).


Jeremy Wheeler is an experienced senior consultant and architect for VMware’s Professional Services Organization, End-user Computing specializing in VMware Horizon Suite product-line and vRealize products such as vROps, and Log Insight Manager. Jeremy has over 18 years of experience in the IT industry. In addition to his past experience, Jeremy has a passion for technology and thrives on educating customers. Jeremy has 7 years of hands-¬‐on virtualization experience deploying full-life cycle solutions using VMware, CITRIX, and Hyper-V. Jeremy also has 16 years of experience in computer programming in various languages ranging from basic scripting to C, C++, PERL, .NET, SQL, and PowerShell.

Jeremy Wheeler has received acclaim from several clients for his in-¬‐depth and varied technical experience and exceptional hands-on customer satisfaction skills. In February 2013, Jeremy also received VMware’s Spotlight award for his outstanding persistence and dedication to customers and was nominated again in October of 2013